Masons Inlet dredging contract approved

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lumina News file photo 

The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners approved a contract for the dredging of Masons Inlet during a meeting on Monday, Dec. 17.

On Monday, Dec. 17, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the nearly $2.2 million contract for dredging maintenance work at Masons Inlet during a regular meeting.

County engineer Jim Iannucci delivered a brief presentation about the $2,178,600 contract. He said the bid by Norfolk Dredging Company came in $1 million under the estimated amount.

“Staff has discussed this with representatives of the Mason Inlet Preservation Group,” Iannucci said.

Vice chairwoman Beth Dawson asked Iannucci if the county had used Norfolk Dredging for work in the past. Iannucci said the company has not been used before, but work comes down to mobilization and cost with dredging projects.

“There’s such a small environmental window,” he said regarding the timeframe for projects. “It really comes down to how many pieces of equipment are available.”

The Masons Inlet dredging work must be completed by March 31, 2013.

The contract approval also included a $25,000 budget amendment returning the Mason Inlet Waterbird Habitat Management Plan to its original funding model, 100 percent by property owners who benefit from the inlet.

Properties located on Figure Eight Island will pay approximately $1.6 million for about 300,000 cubic yards, at $5.50 per yard of sand. The remainder will be paid for by properties on the north end of Wrightsville Beach.

The funds will originally be paid for by the Room Occupancy Tax fund and will then be assessed and repaid by property owners in 2013.

Before ending the meeting, the full five-member board approved appointments to other local boards and committees.

The list of 29 boards and committees was distributed during a tense agenda briefing on Dec. 13, when certain members expressed interest in the same boards, including the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees and the Wilmington Business Development.

Commissioner Brian Berger will serve only on the Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness. Chairman Woody White will serve on eight boards, Commissioner Jonathan Barfield Jr. will serve on nine boards, and Dawson and Commissioner Thomas Wolfe will each serve on five boards.

Rob Zapple, who ran unsuccessfully in the county commission race, spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting about his opposition to the change of the county board of health from operating independently to now having final decisions going before the commissioners before approval under a new North Carolina law.

White said the intent of the board is to direct county management to educate board members on decisions.

“We want to hear,” White said. “We want to go through the process.”

County manager Chris Coudriet said the members of the board of health and department of social services were notified of the changes on Friday after the agenda briefing.

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